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Indianapolis Public Schools is proud to announce our
district’s first Innovation Network Conversion Schools – Cold Spring School and George H. Fisher School 93. The
leadership teams at these two schools have worked diligently throughout the
past year to design and propose school models highlighting their staff
strengths, addressing community needs and promoting student achievement.

 

The Board of School Commissioners has approved their
final agreements for conversion!

 

While many Innovation Network Schools are the product of a strategic initiative
to transform struggling schools, the Conversion model allows strong school
leaders to create a curriculum and management design with greater flexibility
to address their school’s specific needs. Earlier this year, leadership teams
at Cold Spring and George H. Fisher were each awarded $50,000 from The Mind
Trust to support the Innovation Conversion planning process.

 

Cold Spring’s
school design extends the instructional day and allocates staffing to support
enhanced STEM curriculum. Cold Spring would also expand its partnership with Marian
University
, serving as a lab
school with benefits expected for both schools as expressed by Marian President
Daniel Elsener.

 

“I want to express
clearly the university’s total commitment to this idea of an innovation school
to take our partnership to a new level,” said Elsener. “We have committed to an
increased level in the partnership in many ways. This will be designated a primary
school for Marian University student teaching … and we’ll provide ongoing
professional development and training for teachers.”

 

More information on
the proposed school design can be found in Cold Spring’s executive summary and Innovation Network
Agreement
documents.

 

George H. Fisher’s
leadership team proposed a school design expanding on the popular Project
RESTORE model, which uses weekly assessments to consistently identify growth
opportunities for increased student achievement. Rather than creating their own
501(c)(3) to support the school, George H. Fisher is suggesting a partnership
with Phalen Leadership Academy (PLA) for guidance on the business side of
managing the school. Project RESTORE co-founder Tammy Laughner spoke at
Tuesday’s public session about the decision to partner with Phalen.

 

“We could create a
501(c)(3) and all it entails from running the business end of a school, but
there’s no doubt it would diminish our time to implement our strengths in
working with these children. Mr. (Earl) Phalen currently runs a proven
established 501(c)(3), allowing us to focus on our passion, educating IPS
children,” said Laughner. “Some worry that our model would be dismantled under
PLA. I appreciate the concern of protecting our ideas, but as co-founder of
Project RESTORE, I am not concerned. Project RESTORE is not a theory waiting to
be proven; we’ve clearly proven our success not only year after year, but
school after school.”

 

You can read more
detail about George H. Fisher’s proposal in the executive summary and Innovation Network
Agreement
.

 

“This is an
exciting opportunity to respond to the needs of our families,” said IPS Superintendent
Dr. Lewis D. Ferebee. “We have consistently heard from George H. Fisher
families that Project RESTORE is the best option for their children. The level
of parent advocacy has been both impactful and inspiring. Cold Spring, one of
our choice schools, offers a specialized curriculum that is yielding results.
We must continue to provide innovative school improvement solutions and allow
our talented educators the flexibility they need to increase student
achievement.”

 

Both schools will
have an advisory board, but final governance over the school would rest with
the IPS Board of School Commissioners. All Innovation Network Schools still
fall under the district’s enrollment and student achievement is the
responsibility of IPS.

 

The growth of
Autonomy and Innovation in IPS is truly a community effort. We need the support
of our schools, families and community partners to ensure success for our
students. For more information, you can view our Autonomy in IPS page here. We also invite our
parents, teachers, neighbors and friends to share your questions and thoughts
via email. The Autonomy team can be reached at autonomyinips@myips.org.